The following statement was sent to SPFE members this morning from President Nick Faber:
As educators, we believe in justice and democracy. These values have always been at the heart of our union, and they are what we aspire to in our practice as educators and citizens.
For all of us, 2020 has been rough. 200,000 Americans have died in a global pandemic because of a lack of leadership from our federal government. Now, we’re facing the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression. Our public schools have moved online to keep our students and our members as safe as possible. The impact of these compounding crises have hit communities of color especially hard. We’ve seen a rise in right wing violence, targeting our Muslim and Jewish neighbors, and Black, Hmong, and trans Americans continue to face violence from the police who are supposed to protect them.
Now more than ever, we need each other. And together we’re fighting back.
When things have felt their most bleak, we’ve risen up. In our communities, we’ve organized mutual aid funds and worked to care for each other. We’ve learned how to connect with each other when we can’t be together. We showed up in the streets in unprecedented numbers to demand justice after the murder of George Floyd and to defend our communities from white supremacists. And now, we’ve come together to cast our ballots.
As educators, we vote to create a world where every single one of our students can be successful in school and in life. This is a world where our public schools are fully funded, where every child has health care, and where no one has to worry about losing their home or being separated from their family. While voting alone cannot and will not create the world we need, it is an important tool. In the act of coming together, we get to set the course for our future.
We believe a strong public school system is at the heart of a just and equitable society. In our schools, we teach our future leaders. They’re why SPFE has advocated and organized tirelessly for our students, our schools, and our community over the last 100 years. We certainly are not going to stop organizing now.
As we expected, it is taking longer to count our votes and verify a winner in this year’s election.
Despite the pandemic and deliberate barriers including day-long lines and attempts to shorten the absentee ballot period, a record number of voters have done their job. Now our election officials are doing theirs, as they have in every previous election.
Politicians who have been afraid of losing their elections have been trying to sow doubts about our elections and our voting processes. Politicians can say whatever they want, but it’s the voters who decide who wins the election.
We know that powerful politicians have tried to divide us based off of our race, gender or religion. But we see through these lies and we choose each other.
We turned out in record numbers at the ballot box, and over the coming days, we will turn up in the streets to make sure every vote counts. The most immediate place to do that is at theNational Day of Protest for a People’s Mandate tonight at 6:00 pm at 301 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis. Also, you can be present on Saturday at the Together We Rise: March to Decide Our Future starting at noon at the intersection of Lake Street and Minnehaha in Minneapolis. These actions are organized by community partners that have worked with us in the past and SPFE has endorsed them. Members of the SPFE Democracy Response Team will be present to greet you. I will see you there in your SPFE red!